Cochran, Lott Announce Emergency Communications Funding

Federal funding totaling more than $1.3 million has been released to assist Mississippi in upgrading emergency communications equipment, U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Trent Lott announced Thursday.

The funding, administered by FEMA, will be used to install interoperability equipment including repeaters on six South Mississippi communications towers. These towers, located in Pike, Pearl River, Stone, Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson Counties, will significantly improve emergency communications among officials in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama.

In addition, approximately 1,000 of 3,000 interoperable communications radios previously on loan from FEMA to officials in Louisiana will be reallocated to Mississippi's first responders and emergency coordinators.

"The negotiations between Mississippi and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to improve interoperable communications capabilities in South Mississippi will prove valuable to our state in times of emergency," Senator Cochran said.

"The ability for local, state, and federal officials to seamlessly talk with each other during the hours leading up to an emergency will save lives by allowing disaster evacuation and immediate recovery to be much more efficient."

Senator Lott said, "This FEMA assistance will be helpful in preparing Mississippi for the 2007 hurricane season. Improving communications among our first responders and others can help save time and lives when another major emergency occurs, and I was pleased to help support this very worthwhile federal initiative."